By Mark Huelsing
Last week I talked about the “hang and hunt” approach that I am using this season… 4 Months, 6 Properties, Dozens of Locations, 1 Treestand
I received several questions from readers, so I thought I would do a follow-up post this week and address some of the specific questions that were asked.
“How do you carry in your stand, sticks, backpack and bow?” – To answer that question I put together a video that shows how I pack everything and also discusses the logistics of how I get setup in the tree.
“How heavy is your stand and climbing sticks?” – My stand, the Lone Wolf Alpha, weighs 14lbs. Each Lone Wolf climbing stick weighs 2.5lbs; I carry 4 sticks. My total weight is right at 24lbs. This setup is a little bit heavier than my previous mobile setup, a Summit Viper climbing treestand, but I have actually found the Alpha and climbing sticks to be more comfortable to carry in and are a lot less bulky. And as I mentioned previously, this stand will get me into virtually any tree, whereas a climber will be quite limiting.
“This method seems like a lot of physical work. How do you prevent sweat and scent?” – That is a great question, and it was one of my main concerns going into this season. First and foremost, yes, it can be easy to work up a sweat when packing in and setting up any stand, especially in the early season. I have found that the key to reducing sweat and scent is to dress in a very light layer (even when it is cold out) and to take your time and go slow when getting setup. In the early season warmth, when nearly any activity will almost guarantee some sweat, I bring an extra shirt and change tops after I have gotten all set in my stand.
“Does it take very long to master this?” – No, I wouldn’t say that it takes long to master this at all, but it does take some planning. You need to know how you are going to carry everything, what order you will do each step in, and how it all works together logistically. (Hopefully the video above will help clarify my process.) I took the time to plan how I was going to do this before I ever tried it, and that planning paid off! I would say that I was completely comfortable using this setup after I had done it only 3 times. I did a few test runs before the season started so that I was 100% confident and comfortable with the process when opening day came around.
“This seems like it would be hard and/or potentially unsafe to do in the dark? Do you use a light?” – This is a very legitimate concern, and trust me, the last thing that I want to do is risk any aspect of safety. If you take the necessary precautions, such as using a harness, lineman’s belt, and tether/life-line, climbing in this manor is very safe, even in the dark. I do use a light when getting setup in the dark, but not a bright one. My headlamp has several modes, one of which is a red light which provides just a few feet of soft light. This subtle light gives me just enough light to see what I am doing, without inhibiting with my “night vision”; and it won’t cast a beam of light that is visible to deer that may be in the area.
“What if there is deer/turkey around you when you need to come down?” – Regardless of what type of stand you use, and whether or not you are packing it out of the woods, it can be difficult to avoid spooking nearby game when leaving the woods.
Does using this setup require more movement than climbing down from a permanent stand with permanent steps? Yes, in a way it does; but not very much. Noise would be a secondary factor here, but this stand can be setup and removed with very little noise, as long as you mindful of doing it quietly. The most important thing you can do to avoid spooking game is plan good entry/exit routes, with alternate options.
I have found that whether or not I am packing in and setting up a stand isn’t really an issue. As a matter of fact, I have setup this stand in the dark and had deer bedded within 50 yards of me while doing so.
“To be honest, I think this would mostly be a pain in the ass.” – To be honest, it can be. Well, maybe not a pain, but at least inconvenient when compared to climbing into a ladder stand or something. Like I said last week, this isn’t for everyone. But, if you want to be mobile and adapt for weather and travel patterns, hunt different properties, try new spots, hunt public land, etc. – Well, then I don’t think there is a better, more capable system.
Going into this season I thought that this method of hunting was going to be miserable, but worth dealing with for the advantages of mobility and flexibility. I have been surprised to find out that “hanging and hunting” isn’t bad at all, once you have taken a few test runs to get comfortable with the process.
I can be setup in nearly any tree in a matter of 10-12 minutes, and that is taking my time to ensure safety, as well as keeping my noise and scent down.
Do you have any other questions? Please feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to get back with you.
– Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. If he is not bowhunting, then he is planning towards it, training for it, and writing about it at SoleAdventure.com